A minister asked me to answer a woman on Facebook who had in her defense of abortion argued that “the bible decimates innocent babies and pregnant women,” citing Psalm 137:9 and II Kings 2:23-24. She then listed numerous Scriptures to prove God kills children.
She then said: “The belief that a human being exists at conception is a matter of faith, not fact” and added, “the bible does not condemn abortion; but, even if it did, we live under a secular constitution, not a theocracy.”
What can we say in response to this lady? May we first step back from all the controversy and polarity, take a deep breath, and read Philippians 4:8. In the midst of angry attacks, bitter barbs, cruel characterizations, and devilish denunciations that overshadow the debate over abortion, let us think about what is “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.”
An Open Letter to Lady A:
May I say that your charges need to be addressed carefully and prayerfully. You quoted Psalm 137:9. One scholar concedes that “many a tenderhearted believer has read these words with shock and chagrin.” Let us remember that these words were written by a broken-hearted refugee who had “witnessed the sadistic brutality of the Chaldean soldiers in the time of the capture of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.” He had seen first-hand “helpless babies” wrenched “from their mothers’ arms and then smashed against (a) wall, laughing uproariously in their malicious glee, and uttering the grossest blasphemy against the God of Israel as they carried on their wanton butchery.”
This was an “imprecatory psalm” that expressed the writer’s agony and anger as he called out to God for an “eye for an eye” justice. While we may understand the psalmist/plaintiff’s cry for justice, it does not mean his prayer/cry was right in the sight of God. Even though God may not say yes to such imprecatory prayers, God still encourages us to bare our soul and innermost thoughts and feelings. God is willing and eager to hear not just our “polite prayers,” but “our rawest expressions of grief, complaint, and hurt.”
You also asked why God set a bear upon some children for teasing a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24). I previously pointed out how Elisha the Prophet was being vehemently, if not violently, opposed, and that the Hebrew phrase does not necessarily refer to small boys but most probably a gang of adolescent out to keep the prophet out of their town. This story has nothing to do with babies or small children.
Your lengthy list of Scriptures deal with times of God’s Judgment, times always preceded by warnings, and repeated calls by God to repent. Often, judgment was delayed in order to give ample time for repentance from sin and avoidance of judgment.
As John 3:17 proclaims, God does not want to judge and condemn people but rather save and change their lives! When judgment falls on people who have refused to confess and change their sinful ways, it is untrue and unfair to say God is killing babies in the same way as a baby who is being aborted. It would not be accurate to say that President Roosevelt was responsible for the murder of babies in Nazis Germany because American bombers attacked the industrial centers behind the Nazi War Machine that sustained the Holocaust.
The Bible condemns murder (Exodus 20:13). While you may argue that an unborn baby is not a human life, the ancient Hippocrates and his Hippocratic Oath treated an unborn baby as a human being – and how many couples viewing the images of their baby by ultrasound would disagree? Job, in his self-pity, refers to the beginning of his life in Job 3:3 as not only “the day I was born” but also when I was “conceived” as a “boy.” Jeremiah 1:5 reports how God “chose” him before He “formed” him “in the womb”, appointing Jeremiah as “a prophet to the nations.” Isaiah also writes about how God called him “from the womb.”
David’s picture of God creating him in his mother’s womb is a vivid description of his beginning personhood: “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made … Your eyes saw me when I was formless …” (Psalm 139:13-14, 16).
While you suggest that since we live under a “secular constitution,” biblical standards are not the law of the land. George Washington warned in his farewell address that religion and morality are indispensable to political prosperity – and that morality cannot be maintained without religion. John Adams, who followed Washington as president, wrote: “Our Constitution was made for moral and religious people.” Thomas Jefferson also added: “No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion.”
I ask you to consider this biblical truth confirmed by history: Selfishness is at the root of all our human problems that give rise to anger, bitterness, cravings and desires, envy, fear, greed, and hatred. The only antidote for such selfishness is seen in Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us, and now inspires and empowers us to sacrifice for each other.
Surely it is a good and lovely thing when a mother sacrifices for her baby. Can we honestly and humbly say that it is a good and lovely thing when a mother chooses to sacrifice her own baby for herself?